Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ANZAC Day - remembering the fallen

Today, April 25, is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand - our Memorial Day. A day to remember those who served in the military. As more and more of our WWI and WWII veterans pass on this has become a poignant day. Both my grandparents have died over the past few years.

My grandfather was in the Merchant Navy and my grandmother was a WAAF during the Battle of Britain, my great-grandmother who died about 15 years ago worked in munitions factories during both world wars and remembered being bombed by Zeppelins during WWI.

We have recently been discovering the exploits of my lady's uncle during WWII. He was a corporal in the 2nd Division (NZ) and fought his way through the North African desert with Montgomery, up through Italy, fought at Monte Cassino and died just north of Faenza in late January 1945 - just a couple of months before the end of the war in Europe. He was wounded a couple of times, fought the German paratroopers (arguably their best troops) twice and his group faced Tiger tanks in early 1945.

His name was Sidney Newton Pitt and is buried in the Commonwealth War Cemetery at Faenza, and has become the focus for one of our overseas trips. Once the kids are a bit older and can appreciate what it means we will visit his grave and say thanks.

This is not the day to debate the rights and wrongs of war, but to appreciate and honour the sacrifices made for us.

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